Amber Valley young carers ready to rock the world after music project

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A group of young Derbyshire carers are learning to make themselves heard after forming a band.

The aspiring rock stars, all aged 10-12, recently launched their first song, Because We Care – Look at Me Now, on community radio station Amber Sound.

Ethan Harrison, 12, said: “This was great. I never thought I could do something like this. Making this record was my chance to have a break and socialize.”

Mum Roxy said: “I’m so proud to hear my son’s music on the radio.”

The band was assembled by two organisations working with the youngsters, Derbyshire Carers Association (DCA) and Amber Valley Young Carers.

DCA activities coordinator Cullen Marshall said: “This project has been a blast and we’re really proud of what we’ve created.

“I believe this has opened a musical door for a hidden group of young people who likely wouldn’t get chance to do something like this.”

In April last year, DCA began to introduce more creative activities for the young people it supports, realising their need for more opportunities to express themselves.

With funding secured from Derbyshire County Council and the Amber Valley Public Health Locality Fund, DCA brought professional musicians from Derby charity Gateway Soundz to work with the youngsters.

After writing their tune in one day, they decamped to the Soundhub studio in Belper and brought in the Rock of Ages choir to flesh out their vision.

All the young carers involved have spoken highly about the project, saying it has expanded their world view, having been shown behind the scenes of the music industry and the feeling of being a musician.

DCA spokesman Amanda Gowing said: “This project has really tapped into a lot of elements the young carers might not get to experience.”

“They are very proud of what they have achieved and to have had this wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of young carers both locally and nationally.”

Josh Wimbledon, 11, added: “Making music has helped me with my confidence.”

The whole process was filmed start to finish by Swadlincote company, Front Row Films, which then edited it into a music video which will soon be available on the Young Carers DCA YouTube channel.

Cullen said: “We felt that by documenting the process, the outcome and the carers’ thoughts, we would be able to raise the profile of what a young carer experiences, to promote the great work they do, through the therapeutic use of music.

“They guided the project from the beginning through to the end, and are now the proud owners of their own song and video.”

He added: “This introduction to music will hopefully inspire a creative streak in their own personal development, and maybe others.”

Alfie Brooker, 12, said: “I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved. I loved seeing myself on the video.

“It’s actually quite nice because I feel that if speech was counted, then we spoke out. I really enjoyed it.”

Amanda said: “We would like to thank James Reader from Front Row Films, plus Dan Williams, Zara Shakespeare, Rory McColgan, Tom Carter, Teresa Williams, Joe Brown, all from Gateway Sounds, for their help.”

The band are now planning their first gig in April, and are asking Ripley and Heanor News readers to help them come up with a band name.

DCA is hoping to raise more funds to continue the project and open it up to other young carers.

Anyone interested in supporting the project can call 01773 833833 or email info@derbyshirecarers.co.uk.